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The 8 Best Substrates For Iguanas

When it comes to selecting a substrate for your iguana's habitat, there are several choices available. What you may not understand, however, is that many goods labeled as reptile bedding are unsafe for iguanas.

Iguanas can unintentionally or deliberately ingest their bedding, making many types of bark and sand hazardous since they can induce intestinal obstruction.

For your convenience, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has reviewed the best substrates for iguanas. These can help you make an informed decision on the ideal substrate for your iguana.

Regardless of the substrate you pick, you'll need to keep a careful eye on your iguana to ensure it doesn't try to eat it!


Zilla Terrarium Liner

The Zilla Terrarium Liner is the greatest overall substrate for your iguana. This liner is offered in eight sizes ranging from 10-125 gallons. It may also be cut to accommodate tanks of unusual dimensions.

Utilizing this liner as the substrate has the advantage of being reusable and simple to clean. When it becomes filthy, just remove solid waste, rinse it with cold water, and let it dry before returning it to the tank.

It is cost-effective to replace it if it deteriorates or begins to smell over time. This liner is non-abrasive, so it will not injure the iguana’s foot or stomach. It is treated with biodegradable enzymes that aid with odor reduction. This product is eco-friendly since it is manufactured from recycled materials.

This product is unfortunately not biodegradable and may not be recycled in your location. You must check with your trash management firm to determine how to dispose of it. It is easy for your iguana’s claws to become entangled in this liner; thus, you must maintain the sharp points cut.


  • Eight sizes up to 125 gallons are available.
  • Can be trimmed to size
  • Recyclable and simple to clean
  • It is economical to replace
  • Non-abrasive
  • Biodegradable enzyme eliminates smells
  • Using recycled materials


  • Not biodegradable
  • Claws may become immobile.


Zoomed Eco-Flooring

Zoo Med’s Eco Carpet is the most cost-effective substrate for iguanas. This product comes in a single size that fits 10-gallon tanks. For bigger tanks, it can be trimmed to size or overlapped.

This non-abrasive substrate liner will not scratch your iguana. It is absorbent, reusable, and simple to clean; simply shake, rinse, and dry before returning to the tank.

This liner’s thick, silky texture allows your iguana to experience a natural habitat while preventing it from ingesting substrate. It is created entirely from recycled plastic bottles, making it environmentally friendly.

This lining is not biodegradable and may not be recyclable where you live. The claws of your iguana might become entangled in this liner, so be careful to keep them cut. This item does not include an odor-controlling chemical.


  • Cost-effective
  • Cuttable and capable of overlap
  • Recyclable and simple to clean
  • Non-abrasive
  • Using recycled materials
  • Natural-feel


  • Not biodegradable
  • Claws may become immobile.
  • No odor control


Exo Terra Sand Mat Sand Terrarium Substrate for Reptiles

The Exo Terra Sand Mat Desert Terrarium Reptile Substrate is a superior option for your iguana’s substrate. It is available in seven sizes ranging in length from 11 inches to 47.5 inches.

This mat has a texture similar to sand, yet it is not consumable like sand or gravel. It is strong, absorbent, reusable, and easy to clean. This lining also helps to regulate the tank’s humidity levels.

It has the look of genuine desert sand, making it an interesting tank addition. This mat’s texture prevents your iguana’s nails from becoming trapped, and it may assist in keeping the nails clipped.

Before using the mat, you should shake it to remove any loose sand so that it does not enter the iguana’s tank. The sand can get loose over time, so you will need to maintain the mat clean and keep a constant eye on it. It is not composed of recyclable materials and lacks an odor-controlling additive.


  • Available in 7 sizes
  • recyclable and simple to clean
  • Authentic appearance and feel
  • Not consumable as with loose substrate
  • Can help keep nails clipped


  • Sand can be dislodged.
  • Not manufactured from recycled materials
  • No odor control


Zoo Med Eco Earth Coconut Fiber Compressed

The Zoo Med Eco Earth Compressed Coconut Fiber substrate is a brick of compressed coconut fiber that may be extended with wetness. A 3-count pack and a bundle of four 3-count packs are offered. It is also available in a loose option.

This substrate is amazing for absorption and one brick may grow up to 8 liters of the substrate, which should cover a 10-15 gallon tank with 1-inch of substrate depth.

Coconut fiber is formed from the husks of coconuts and is a renewable resource and eco-friendly to create. It can be used dry or wet. It has natural odor control capabilities and may be composted or repurposed.

This substrate can be tough to utilize dry as it will take a large amount of being broken up into smaller pieces if purchased in bricks. If left to stay wet for lengthy periods of time, it will begin to mold, thus it should be replaced periodically while wet or moist.

This substrate can be swallowed by iguanas, therefore if you detect your iguana attempting to eat this bedding or accidentally eating it, you’ll need an alternative product.


  • Available in two brick pack sizes in addition to as loose substrate
  • Has natural absorption and odor control
  • Eco-friendly and renewable
  • Compostable or recyclable
  • One brick will fill a 10-15 gallon tank


  • When dried, it might be difficult to break apart.
  • Molds if it remains damp.
  • Can be eaten by iguanas


Critters Enjoy Organic Reptile Bedding Made of Coconut

The Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Bedding Organic Substrate is composed entirely of coco coir, often known as coconut fiber. One 20-liter or 21-quart bag of loose bedding is given, which should be sufficient to fill a 20- to 30-gallon tank.

Coco coir is naturally absorbent, odor-controlling, and dust-free. This substrate is derived from renewable materials and is environmentally friendly. It is compostable, biodegradable, and packed in recyclable plastic.

This bedding should be completely replaced every 30-45 days, therefore one bag will last a long time. It will assist regulate the humidity in the iguana’s tank and aid in the diffusion of heat.

This substrate is of a high enough quality that iguanas may ingest it, therefore you will need to keep a careful eye on it. This product is priced at a premium since it must be changed every month. It will mold if kept moist for too long, so you will need to monitor it and replace little portions as necessary.


  • Natural odor control and absorption
  • sustainable and renewable
  • Are compostable
  • Only need complete replacement every 30 to 45 days
  • The bag may be recycled
  • Can assist with humidity management and heat distribution


  • Can be eaten by iguanas
  • Molds if it remains damp.
  • Premium price
  • Only available in a single-size bag


Natural Coconut Fiber Reptile Carpet Mat by ZeeDix

There are two sizes available for the ZeeDix 3pcs Natural Coconut Fiber Reptile Carpet Mat: 19.7 by 15.7 inches and 31.5 by 15.7 inches. Both sizes are available in a set of three mats. These mats are constructed entirely of coconut fiber.

These mats are absorbent and provide natural odor control. They are environmentally friendly and manufactured from renewable materials. They are flame-retardant and include biodegradable enzymes for odor control.

These mats are inedible to iguanas, reusable, and simple to clean. These mats provide all the advantages of coco coir without requiring you to break up bricks or worry about your iguana consuming it. They are economical for routine replacement, if necessary.

Since they are made of coco coir, they are susceptible to mold if left damp, thus they must be cleaned frequently. If these mats are trimmed to size, the ends and edges may fray, therefore it is essential to purchasing them according to the dimensions of your aquarium. If these mats do not provide sufficient absorption, you may need to place a second mat below.


  • Two sizes available
  • Three mats in a package
  • Natural odor control and absorption
  • Are compostable
  • Sustainable and renewable
  • Cost-effective


  • Molds if it remains damp.
  • Since they are biodegradable, they may require more frequent replacement than other mats.
  • Cannot be tailored
  • Possibly need a second mat if not absorbent enough.

Buyer's Guide

Iguana Substrates Available:

  • Mats are one of the most common substrate solutions for iguanas due to their effectiveness and cleanability. They prohibit your iguana from eating its substrate, whether by purpose or by accident. Many mats contain odor-controlling compounds that are safe for iguanas and are eco-friendly and economical to replenish.
  • Coconut Fiber: Coconut fiber is eco-friendly and renewable, as well as very absorbent and odor-controlling by nature. It is available as a loose substrate, crushed bricks, and carpets for purchase. Iguanas can consume loose substrate and shattered compressed bricks, thus the usage of this substrate should be strictly supervised to prevent impaction.
  • Normal tile may be used as a substrate for your iguana but should be thoroughly cleaned before usage. Tiles are durable and simple to maintain. Tiles can aid in the distribution of heat inside the tank, but they do not absorb waste and will likely remain wet if placed on a level surface since water and urine cannot drain. Ceramic tile does not aid in odor control.
  • Paper materials are the least expensive substrate for your iguana. Towels, newspapers, and butcher paper are all suitable substrate options. They are absorbent yet require regular replacement, are untidy, and disintegrate when wet. Paper products have a limited effect on odor management.

Substrates to Avoid for the Safety of Your Iguana:

  • Sand: Sand can cause intestinal obstruction if consumed by your iguana. It is challenging to remove wet substances and lacks absorption and odor control qualities.
  • Gravel: Gravel is abrasive and might cause your iguana to sustain scratches and scrapes. It can also be consumed by your iguana, causing impaction or perhaps internal injury. Gravel has little absorption or odor control capabilities, and it might be difficult to clean it properly.
  • The greatest problem with bark bedding is that your iguana may absorb it. However, if the bark is too large for your iguana to consume, it can be utilized as substrate or bedding as long as there are no sharp edges. Bark has some absorptive characteristics, and some varieties may aid with odor management; nevertheless, it is difficult to maintain cleanliness.
  • Cat Litter: Although incredibly absorbent and simple to clean, cat litter presents the same risks as gravel. It also clumps when moist, which can quickly cause digestive obstructions in your iguana. Some cat litters generate a great deal of dust, which can be harmful to your iguana’s respiratory system.
  • Sawdust: Because sawdust bedding is typically manufactured from pine, aspen, or cedar wood, iguanas should not be housed in it. It is easily ingestible, and very fine sawdust might irritate your iguana’s respiratory system. It has some absorptive and odor-controlling characteristics, but can be difficult to clean and sticky when wet.


After reading BestForPets (bestforpets.org)’s evaluations of the best substrates for iguanas, have you decided on one to try? The Zilla Terrarium Liner, the greatest product overall, is both functional and economical. Zoo Med Eco Carpet is the greatest value iguana substrate, whereas Exo Terra Sand Mat Desert Terrarium Reptile Substrate is the premium option.

Choosing a substrate for your iguana does not have to be difficult or complex, but avoiding certain substrates may save you time, money, and possibly misery. A suitable substrate can keep your iguana healthy by offering a more hygienic environment, and certain substrates provide the added benefit of seeming and feeling natural, which will make your iguana more at ease. You may switch substrates at any time, so if you test one and it doesn’t satisfy your iguana’s demands, it’s simple to try another one.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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